This important book makes the case for placing maternity care in the community. It has been written by a multidisciplinary group. The first section considers the role and function of the participants in community-based maternity care; the woman, the midwife, and the GP. The second section discusses four major contemporary issues: the radically changing social background, the economics of care, audit, and education of the carers. Next the major clinical challenges in maternity care are tackled: how to reduce the differences in morbidity and mortality which are associated with differences in age, social class and ethnicity; the care of disadvantaged groups; prematurity and low birth weight and their prevention; technology used in childbirth; and the fetal origins of adult disease. Finally, all aspects of the clinical care carried out by Gps and midwives are covered. The editors hope that after reading this book midwives, Gps, and obstetricians should find the theory underpinning their work has been sharply defined and that their work will be more effective and evidence-based. The editors, a GP and a midwife, anticipate the resolution of the current tensions between midwife, GP, and obstetrician and look forward to a responsive, effective and sensitive service for mothers and babies in the next millennium.